20 September, 2015

Sky 726 - A decadent treat !

“Gourmandise is an impassioned, rational and habitual preference for all objects that flatter the sense of taste.” - Jean-Antheleme Brillat-Savarin (1755-1826)

There was a time when restaurants were frequented by diners purely on the basis of the food being served there.  There still are a few establishments that hold on to that basis but overall, if one were to give the Food and Beverage Industry a long, good look, the industry has come a long way from just resting on the laurels of good food.  Restaurants and food establishments have evolved, and how!  They’ve moved forward from titillating just the sense of taste onto newer, more demanding frontiers – those of finely balancing the art of stimulating and appealing to all five senses that humans are endowed with.

Little did we realize that it was going to be a delight on so many counts, when we walked into Sky 726 on Saturday last.  It was presumably a new restaurant, a Kitchen and Bar concept which automatically implied an open kitchen and bar.  The first hint of an all round experience manifested itself as the elevator doors opened onto the top floor of the building where the restaurant is housed.  The moment the lift doors opened, subdued hints of music floated through the air as we took in the visual panorama that Sky 726 had to offer. 

Once we were settled into our table for the evening, we took in the finer details that have gone into making Sky 726 what it is.  An oil painting added a bold splash of color to the place which is otherwise done up in subdued hues of base colors.  Later we learnt from the hosts, that the crystal chandelier embedded into the wall, had been put into place crystal by crystal. 

The bar, impressively well stocked, sits right in the middle of the establishment and is a treat for the visual sense.  The chief bartender made it quite obvious that he loves what he does; mixing and churning up cocktails while he moved to the rhythm of the music, exhibiting the passion and zest he has for his profession. 

Our four course dinner started with a fresh garden salad which was served with a refreshingly light balsamic vinaigrette.  Foodies that we are, we’ve patronized many an establishment in HK.  In many places, the one thing that has stood out consistently is the overkill on the salad, either in terms of too many components battling for attention on the palate or in terms of a salad dressing that’s so heavy that it completely takes over and overwhelms the taste buds.  Sky 726 dished up a lovely salad - fresh crisp organic greens consisting of a variety of lettuce for the crunch, some rocket for the zing with finely sliced cherry radish and cherry tomatoes adding a splash of bright color and sweetness.  The topping of toasted slivers of almonds, completed the bouquet of textures and tastes that the salad brought with it.

The salad which set the taste buds tingling with that refreshing vinaigrette  was followed by a hot minestrone. A light, herby tomato base, loaded with chunky vegetables, the soup was delightful.  The kitchen had made sure that the soup wasn’t loaded with sodium or overly spiced, thus letting the natural flavors of the vegetables seep through into every spoonful.

There was a good variety of entrĂ©es on the menu that night.  I opted for the Organic Chicken Breast rolled in vegetables, served on a bed of pumpkin puree, studded with pickled pearl onions which added a bit of crunch and sourness to the sweetness of the puree.  Never before have I had such moist, tender chicken ever.  Slow cooked, sous vide the chicken breast was stuffed with blanched spinach which added to its taste and texture.  The smooth pumpkin puree, on which the chicken breast rested, was the perfect accompaniment to the plate - smooth and creamy.

In the meanwhile, Vic opted for the Seafood Pesto Pasta which was equally lovely to look at, with the aroma of fresh pesto wafting tantalizingly from the plate.  The dish was liberally topped with pan seared prawns and the sear on the prawns looked absolutely perfect.  It did apparently taste awesome too because well, I wasn’t as much as offered a single prawn!!  Vic chose to wave those perfectly seared prawns in front of my eyes before treating himself to that gastronomic delight.

Both the entrĂ©es were outstanding.  Yet again, the chef scored big with letting the natural flavors of the dish speak, without being overwhelmed by salt or spices. 

After having our palate sufficiently aroused, we opted for a Panna Cotta for dessert.

Panna Cotta literally means “cooked cream” in Italian and is one of the mainstays of Italian cooking tradition.  We loved the twist the chef added to the panna cotta both, in terms of taste and presentation.  Traditionally, Panna Cotta is served unmolded, on a plate.  The chef here had chosen to serve the Panna Cotta in the goblet in which it had been set.  Whilst being set, the goblet had been tilted, to add a lovely angle to the Panna Cotta, which was then complemented by a mix of berries.  The extension to the taste came from the Baileys Irish Cream that had been poured over the berries.  The end result was a lusciously creamy dessert that brought the entire course as close to being divine as possible.  It simply hit the spot.

Like I said before, we’ve frequented many a restaurant all over HK and there have been times when the food has been great but the service has left much to be desired.  That’s another area where Sky 726 stands out.  The team at Sky 726 is such a wonderfully motivated, driven one.  

The entire crew working in tandem with the chef, the bartender and the manager reminded me of a scene from Robert Brownings, “The Pied Piper of Hamelin”.  
“So munch on, crunch on, take your nuncheon, breakfast, supper, dinner, luncheon!  And just as a bulky sugar-puncheon, all ready staved, like a great sun shone glorious scarce an inch before me.”

09 September, 2015

On the cusp at Forty Five :-)


(Image courtesy : moviespix.com via Google)

Forty five.  

I just turned forty five today.

That number is considered by many as exactly halfway through life.  I’m not laying any bets on any numbers here but given that it is the norm to consider the number 45 as ‘halfway there’, I did stop and reflect about how I feel, having reached that milestone.

It feels no different, truth be told. 

Life, so far, has been a very interesting journey – a very agreeable, equitable one.  Life, like it is meant to be, has taken me on straight paths at times and around very convoluted circles at many others.  There have been times when the roads seemed paved, smooth enough to send things whizzing down the fast lane and there have been times when the road has been bumpy enough to leave me rattled and exhausted.

What I did realize though, as I stopped to introspect, was the fact that life is indeed a great teacher.  What it does, through the experiences it puts us through, is increase awareness.  Through increased awareness, comes change - a change in attitudes, perspective.  As attitudes and perspectives change, it seems to automatically bring with it, a sense of freedom - a freedom that comes from acceptance, peace and tolerance.  It does bring about the realization that life is pretty much what we make it.  We’ve been dealt a hand, how we use those cards is totally up to us. What life also does, in its own inimitable way, is deliver lessons in humility.  As maturity sets in with a change in attitudes and perspective, as we get more tolerant and accepting, humility slips in somewhere along the way, quietly, very true to its name.  

Humility, which is such an important component in life. Youth often confuses humility with timidity. Once upon a time, I did too. But like I said earlier, life does teach you a thing or two. And this was one very important lesson that life imparted me too. Once upon a time, the brashness of my youth would have said “humility is nothing but debasing yourself”. Over the years, life has taught me that humility is nothing other than maintaining our own pride about who we are, what we are and what we’ve achieved in life – maintaining that sense of pride without arrogance, without conceit, without a feeling of superiority.

A decade back, what people thought about me or would think about me did mean a lot to me. I now realize that it is no longer the case. Somewhere along the way, I’ve realized that I’m no longer concerned about what people think of me or say or talk about me. As long as my conscience is clear at the end of the day, I’m at peace with myself and the world around me.

To be honest, I’m more at peace with myself now than I’ve ever been before in my life.  It was just the other day I was saying to Macadamia and Pecan that I’ve stopped being analytical and critical about many things, in many different situations.  In that sense, the process of learning is still very much on.  I don’t get my knickers in a knot over situations that I know are totally beyond my control.  I find myself much calmer, much more focused.  There is no longer that need to cram as much as one can, into one day because life is whizzing past. 
Of late, I have sensed this need to consciously ‘slow down’ – to learn to slow down, if I may use that term.  Life has whizzed past, kids have grown up and I am indeed now sensing the need for more of a ‘me’ time.  Just quiet time, during which to put my feet up and do something I’ve always wanted to indulge in.  This has, of late, nudged me towards spending more time nurturing the creativity that’s been hidden somewhere in there.  I never really acknowledged it earlier.  Now, I do.  I never used to give in to that need to just curl up with a sketch book, a pen or a pencil and just give vent to creative urges.  Now, I do.  More importantly, I’m glad I do. 

The forties, I must say, have been full of pendulum moments in terms of the kids.  It has alternated from feelings of absolute bliss and pride at their accomplishments and at the kind of people they are growing up to be on the one hand and on the other hand, there are moments when I feel they are growing up too fast.  “Let go” was something I’d told myself many years back that I’d need to learn and I have, to an extent.  As university education and the possibility of that taking Macadamia to some other corner of the globe looms, I do feel those moments of despair and realize that I’m not as ready as I thought I was.  I’m not ready for that bit yet. 

As I stand on the said cusp of time today, I can only say that the human mind is pretty much like a treasure chest.  A box full of memories from the years gone by, little snippets of conversation, pictures etched onto one’s mind, aromas and fragrances even – they are treasure untold.  I do now realize how much I hang on to them within the deep recesses of my heart and mind. 

Today morning, as I left home to get to work, I met parents of good friends downstairs and they rushed over to wish and bless me.  My mom called from Bombay, to wish me.  I find these filling me with a sense of joy and well being.  These are times when realization hits home as to how much of a space in our lives, our parents, our elders continue to fill.  They are irreplaceable and I do realize that we can never have enough of them.

As I looked at my picture that Vic posted on Facebook today morning, I did notice the wrinkles, the laugh lines around my eyes.  I do notice those little crinkles around my mouth and my eyes. Each and every time I notice one of those wrinkles, I remember to thank that Universal Force. For, those wrinkles remind me of the times when life has made me laugh. They remind me of times when I’ve had the sheer luxury of laughter, for, life has indeed taught me that there are many in this world who do not have that luxury . Those little wrinkles – yes, they are my laugh lines and yes, I carry them around with pride.

All of forty five today, I don’t stake claim to have understood life in all its totality.  I guess one never will but I’m kind of beginning to accept how this whole wheel turns.  I don’t fret and fume or stress myself out over the little things, probably because I’m at an age where I’m distinctly aware that things like good health, joints and limbs that listen to your instructions and do as you ask them to, having physical senses in working condition – are all things that cannot really be taken for granted anymore. In that sense and lots more, the bigger picture takes precedence over the small little things that used to bug me, earlier on.  Fretting over little things don't seem to appear anywhere on my priority lists anymore and in turn, it has made life a lot easier.

These are indeed the quieter years of life and I welcome the quiet and peace with open arms.  I am blessed with a beautiful, wonderful family who mean the world to me and then some.   I am in a profession that I care deeply about and enjoy thoroughly, a profession that takes a lot out of me yet is so fulfilling and gratifying.   I have a whole bunch of friends in HK and all over the globe who care about me, there have been a lot of old friends I’ve reconnected with over the past years. There have been numerous instances in my life when I’ve felt the hand of the Universal Force in my life. What more can I ask for ?

So, every evening, at the end of the day, when I find myself at home just being ‘me’, doing what I feel like doing, surrounded by people I love and who love me, having spent the day in a profession that I love and care about, two kids who alternate between driving me mad and making me proud, I realize that I’m happier than I’ve ever been.

If that’s a sum total of the first forty five years of my life, as I stand on the cusp today, I’d just say “Bring on the next forty five”.  Let’s do this !

09 April, 2015

Eggless Carrot Cake with Pistachios and Raisins

Ingredients (Baking cup quantity measures)

Grated Carrots - 2 cups
Light Brown Sugar - 3/4 - 1 cup (depending on how sweet you like the cake) (I used 3/4 cup)
Unsalted Butter - 125 gms (For healthier options, use canola or corn oil)
All purpose flour - 1 1/2 cups 
Pistachios - 3/4 cup 
Raisins - 1/3 cup
Milk - 1/4 cup (I used full cream milk not skimmed milk)
Salt - 2 pinches
Baking Soda - 1 tsp
Baking Powder - 1 tsp
Apple Cider Vinegar or Distilled White Vinegar - 2 tbsps
Vanilla Extract - 2 tsp
Cinnamon powder - 1/4 tsp 
Grated nutmeg - 1/8 tsp (optional)

1. Coarsely grind the pistachios.  Just a couple of whizzes in the food processor.  If you have the patience, you could chop the pistachios :-).

2. Take a deep dish just so it makes mixing easier :-).  Add the grated carrots, salt, sugar and the pistachios and give the whole thing a good mix.  Set aside for about 10 mins for the carrots to release moisture.

3. Then add the raisins, all purpose flour and give it a good mix so that the raisins get coated in flour.  This prevents the raisins from sinking to the bottom once the cake batter is in the oven.

4. Add the baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon powder and grated nutmeg.

5. Melt the butter and pour the melted butter into the mix. Gently fold the batter with a spatula.  It does not need an electric mixer or a whisk.

6. Once all the ingredients are mixed, add the milk and vanilla extract.  Fold the mixture with a spatula until just mixed.  The batter will be lumpy.

7. Preheat the oven to 175 degrees C.

8. Finally, add 2 tbsps of vinegar and gently mix.  The batter will foam a bit because the vinegar reacts with the baking soda.  

9. Line a baking pan with foil and coat with butter.  You could reserve a bit of the melted butter to coat the pan.  I usually use foil and leave a bit of overhang because it makes it so much easier to take the cake out of the pan, once done.

10. Move the rack in the oven lower else the top of the cake will get done while the insides would not have cooked enough.  Since this is a dense batter, it takes longer to cook.

10. Pour the batter into the greased, foil lined tin (I used a 8" x 7" baking tray).  Bake at 175 degrees C for about 35-40 mins.  

11. Don't leave the cake in the oven once the timer goes off.  Let cool outside before taking the cake out of the pan.

12. The vinegar gives this usually dense cake a fluffiness and airiness.  It is a delicate cake because there is so much for the all purpose flour to hold together.  


1. The spices - I used cinnamon.  You could use cinnamon and nutmeg or cinnamon and ginger powder, depending on your taste.

2. I've used pistachios in this recipe.  These can easily be substituted with walnuts / pecans / cashews / slivered almonds.

3. Raisins can be substituted with cranberries if you want a slight tinge of sourness to the cake.

4. If not using spices like cinnamon or nutmeg, you could use the zest of lemon or orange to give it a lovely citrus flavour.

08 April, 2015

Kothamalli Podi / Dry Hara Dhania Chutney / Dry Green Coriander Chutney


2 medium size bunches of coriander leaves (about two baking cups measure)
12-14 dry red chillies
1 lime size ball tamarind
1/2 cup Urad dal (baking cup measure)
2 tsp (flat) asafoetida
Salt to taste

1. Wash and dry the coriander stem and leaves.

2. Chop the stem and leaves into little pieces.  This helps with the grinding process later on.

3. Heat a pan on low fire and dry roast the red chillies.  This takes just a few seconds.  Don't over roast else the chillies start turning black and this will give the powder a bitter after taste. Set the roasted red chillies aside to cool.

4. Roast the urad dal until the dal turns a light shade of brown.  Set aside to cool.

5. In the same pan, on a low fire, now roast the chopped coriander stem pieces and leaves.  Roast until it wilts / has considerably dehydrated.  It does not completely dehydrate, there will be a bit of moisture left but the leaves and stem pieces should have a rather blanched / shrunk look.  

6. Blend the coriander stem / leaves in a blender while still warm.  The cooler it gets, the more fibrous it becomes and hence more difficult to grind.

7. Once the coriander is a bit ground up, transfer the coriander to a bowl.

8. Get the rest of the ingredients into the blender and grind until the dal and the chillies have broken up into little bits.  

9. Now add the previously ground coriander and give the whole thing a good whiz in the blender / food processor.  

10. Once the powder has cooled down, transfer to an airtight bottle.  Would be better to refrigerate the powder because the coriander retains some of the moisture even after grinding.

This powder / dry chutney is one of the most versatile of Tambrahm recipes and can liven up anything from simple toast to idlis and dosas to plain rice with the dollop of ghee to yoghurt rice :-).

11 March, 2015

What are we humans doing with this world ?

(Image courtesy : constantinealexander.net via google)

What is wrong with the world of today ?  I now often wonder
Why are people tearing each other, countries apart, asunder
Why is there so much hatred in this world ?
With allegations and accusations against each other, being hurled.

Look at Planet Earth, the very planet we all call 'home'
Where now zealots plunder in the name of religion and freely roam
Goodness and morality do not seem to make the cut anymore
As hatred and animosity run riots in human minds and come to the fore.
We humans take it for granted, think it's our birth-right
To maul and strip Mother Nature, to raze trees on sight
Climate change, unusual weather, we wring our hands and fret
But are we doing our bit to save greenery and trees ? No, not yet !

Deforestation has become the name of the game
It's all in the name of progress, politicians claim
Mother Nature shows her displeasure and fury every so often
The stance of politicians the world over, however, does not soften.

People are too busy with power play and dominance
Human values do not seem to hold the same pertinence
Lives are cheap, morals askew
To stand up against wrong and right, there are but a few.

Violence rears its ugly head way too frequently
Gunmen get into schools and go on shooting sprees
People in nations tortured, maimed and killed by terrorists
There seems to be no room in this world, for non-conformists.

Religion still happens to be the most favoured tool
Steeping minds and hearts with hatred, forming vile cesspools
One still hears of bloodshed aplenty in the name of God
In the name of One who's supposed to protect and nurture, is that not odd ?

That day in Bombay's history will forever be etched in my memory
Where ordinary people went on a bloodthirsty spree
I was at work when, one by one, the bombs exploded
As, one after the other, multiple places in the city were pounded.

I saw bodies being carted away in trucks, limbs lying scattered
The heart ached to see the city torn, families shattered.
If one thinks these incidents were just events in the past
Look at the more recent ones the world over, they'll leave one equally aghast.

Caste and religion are such fertile breeding grounds even today
Little children being indoctrinated into violence, their minds led astray
The heart aches and the eyes sting with tears
As children are taught to handle guns and bombs, and terror cheers.

Women have no space to voice themselves, in many a place
As their own, physical or mental, many women can claim no space
Women are still treated as objects, to claim and plunder
When will good sense prevail, if at all, it makes one wonder.

Watching the evening news is nary a pastime anymore
For, all one hears in the headlines and news, is a whole galore of gore
What comes from such violence, I ask
Is there indeed such hatred deep in the minds of people, to unleash and unmask ?

Violence, bloodshed, carnage and mayhem rule the roost
With false values and deceptive tenets, young minds are being seduced
Is this right, is this really the road to heaven or jannat, as claimed
Does violence not leave families shattered and youngsters, for life, maimed ?

Why then, does humankind spread such hatred and loathing
And in doing so, what sort of a future course are we charting ?
War and bloodshed in the name of personal conviction
Oh brethren ! Human attitudes are so very brazen.

We humans are fast being dragged into a mire
We humans are fast setting the world afire
Humanity has imprisoned itself in cages of bigotry
To random violence and anger, there seems to be no boundary.

Change is what the world over, humanity needs
Pray, who's going to make a start in tilling hearts and of change, sowing the seeds
It has to start from the grassroots, it so does
To crush prejudices and bigotry, do we humans have it in us ?

Oh ! Don't you think there's got to be a start somewhere ?
Of intolerance, chauvinism and prejudice, all humanity needs to beware
A start sure needs to be made on this front
Else, our future generations risk bearing, of such hatred, the brunt.
Else, our future generations risk bearing, of such hatred, the brunt.


06 March, 2015

India's Daughter

India's Daughter

India's Daughter.
This documentary by Leslee Udwin is making the headlines all over – for a whole range of reasons.  The most important one being that this documentary is about the mindset which has prevailed in patriarchal societies like India for eons now and how this, in turn, becomes the root cause of many an evil towards women in society.  It is a known fact that these mindsets towards subjugation of women exist even today, even among the so called ‘educated’ community in India.  India’s Daughter serves not just to drive those attitudes home, it actually brings to the fore, focuses attention on why women are still subjugated, dominated and suppressed in an India which is supposed to be ‘fast developing’.
The government of India, for reasons or excuses best known to it, have banned the screening of this documentary in India.  My question remains the same – Why ?  I guess this question will have a whole plethora of answers ranging from “it shows our country in bad light” to “this sends out the wrong message to people because the convicted rapist has been interviewed in this documentary”. 
If the reason is the former, it is not the documentary that shows our country in bad light.  It is the fact that crimes against women are still rampant and worse still, action taken is far and few, if at all any.  That is cause for concern, not the fact that the flaws are being openly portrayed in this documentary.  If it is the latter, judging by the opinions of some of the other people who have been featured in this documentary, this mindset of women not having any say in anything worthwhile, women being treated as doormats, women being held responsible for crimes against them, is more widely prevalent than what people would like to believe, think and assume.  Therein lies the monster and it is this monster whose face has been unmasked, in Leslie Udwin’s documentary.
This documentary makes an attempt to showcase women’s rights (or the lack of it) all over the world.  There are so many countries where women suffer on account of repression, they still continue to live under the shade of inferiority that patriarchy has shadowed them with, many women still continue to be repressed and victimized on a regular basis, just by virtue of being a woman.
There have been quite a few critics of the documentary who have pointed out to the fact that the research done when producing this documentary, leaves a lot to be desired.  That may be true but just for a moment, let’s look beyond the nitty gritties and focus on the matter that this is trying to bring to the fore. 
That highhanded male attitude that patriarchy bestows on male members of its society is so very evident, especially in the clips where the convicted rapist has been interviewed and worse still, when the defendents’ scum lawyers open their mouths and spew filth.  It was unnerving, hair raising and extremely infuriating watching those interview clips.  When the convicted rapist talks of his brother (the main perpetrator in this heinous incident), the feeling I got was one of adulation, of the fact that he looks up to his big brother as the person ‘who could do anything’.  There is a definite element of hero worship when he talks about his brother having ‘done such things before too’.
The almost amused look that flickers across his face, the complete lack of remorse and those blank eyes stand testament to male attitudes that persist, that are very much alive and kicking in the Indian society, even today.  There is not a sign of regret or repentance over what they did, neither does there appear to be any element of shame.  Instead, he does what many men like him have been taught to do, by society and by their parents, through the years – point the finger elsewhere and blame someone else.  He nonchalantly blames the girl for what happened with her when he says ‘they had to teach her a lesson because she fought back’.  His parents, when interviewed, point fingers at the other four accused in the gang rape.  In their minds, both their sons were not to blame. 
What is most dismaying, most disturbing about the whole documentary is a truth that people already know.  Atleast people from India do, very well.  It is how women, how feminity is viewed in India by a whole spectrum of males, ranging from the uneducated rapist to the so called ‘educated’ lawyers.  It is the unapologetic misogyny, the unrepentant objectification of women that this documentary unmasks.   This predominant male mindset is prevalent only too widely. 
Another thing that the documentary brings to the fore is the fact that in the minds of these men who have been convicted and in prison right now, nothing has changed.  I cringe at the knowledge that the juvenile who was just as responsible as the many others, in gang raping Jyoti Singh, will walk free in December 2015.  This animal will roam the streets once again and can our legal system, which chose to give him a three year sentence on the basis of him being underage, vouch for the fact that this sentence has been deterrent enough to prevent him from doing something as heinous, all over again ?  No, it can’t.  It exposes another one of those many loopholes in the Indian legal system wherein someone who gang raped and murdered a woman gets away, simply because he is not eighteen yet.  Our prison systems do nothing either.  Is he going to walk out of his juvenile prison, a changed man ?  I sincerely doubt it.  So then, on what basis are our courts letting him walk out, a free man, come December 2015 ?
The heart goes out to her parents and to me, they stand as shining examples of dignified courage.  There is helplessness writ large on their faces.  Definitely yes and that is totally gut wrenching.  It is that powerlessness, that vulnerability that underscores why, as of today, there is a definite limit, a ceiling to what one can do in the face of literally every crime that takes place against women in our country today – right from domestic violence to rape.   Yet, through their helplessness, their pain, they come across as symbols of hope – hope that there would be more parents like  them who are prepared to stand up to their families, hope that there would be more parents like them who would be broadminded enough to defy societal rules in educating their daughters, hope that there would be more parents like them who know and recognise their daughters’ strengths and appreciate them.
The Indian government has pretty much done the people of its nation, the women of its nation and feminity in general, a disfavour by banning the screening of this documentary in India.  They are doing exactly what people have been doing in the past – trying to push the problem into the deepest recesses of a dark drawer in the hope that it blows off and the whole thing just disappears, goes away. 
Simply put, our society needs to take a long, good look at the mirror that has been placed in front of its face and confront the issues that need confronting, not push them away into the deepest recesses of the nearest closet in the hope that the issues disappear.
The documentary does not sermonise, nor does it show the country or its people in bad light, nor does it seek to glorify the directors and the producers.  Very simply put, it unmasks, it unveils, it bares, it reveals all over again, the picture of women in India, shackled by the chains of a patriarchal society.  It debunks the myth that things have indeed changed and more importantly it hits home on the fact that there needs to be a beginning somewhere, a start towards changing the notations, the assumptions, the mindsets in people, towards womanhood and feminity. 

23 February, 2015

The Beauty of Books - A Tribute

(Image courtesy : etsy.com via Google)

A journey to lands far away
On ships that, to the ocean’s seduction, sway
One travels far and free, one wanders into lands barren
As always, the travels come at a winning bargain

One sojourn takes me to the wildness of Africa
Another to the sublime, peaceful land of the Buddha
With James Bond, I’ve often done the jive
Off helicopters, there are times when I’ve taken a dive

London and Paris were just a stone’s throw for a heart flying free
There were trips on the Missisippi River, with who else but Becky
I’ve lived the life of an architect, struggling in obscurity
As well as Mrs. Bennett’s life of borderline insecurity  

There have been so many doors open
Adventures to magical, mythological lands, often spun
Of voyages aplenty on magic carpets, I’ve had my fill
Many a times, as i pictured with closed eyes, time stood still.

All these magical adventures and journeys, I hold dear
When diving off the helicopter, I did indeed feel fear
It is like being caught in a whirlwind of emotions
When being with witches and fairies, mixing their potions

Life chugs along at its own pace
Bringing with it, many a different phase
The sojourns however, continue, as they will
Every time I turn a page, there’s a hidden element of thrill

As I inhale the fragrance of the yellowed paper
As my eyes settle on the words that dance and caper
It draws me into its world, holds me like an anchor
The heart responds to emotions … joy, sorrow and anger

Such is the power of books and they’re indeed my friends
When in such lovely company, a journey never ends
They open doors like nothing else does
They do so gently, without much fuss

What would people do, without books to read
Of imagination in one’s mind, they plant the seed
They hold the essence of the universe in their lines
A flight of imagination to our earthly minds

Into everything, they breathe life, they are indeed ageless
Without books, life would indeed be Oh ! so tedious
As someone once did so fittingly advise
“Reading is dreaming with open eyes”.